Jack's friends

Deep thoughts while watching paint dry

I am sitting here watching paint dry. LITERALLY. I painted four different Martha Stewart grays on my dining room wall and now I am WATCHING. I took pictures of the house today, for YOUR benefit Internet! But I need Phillip to upload them (uploading is now even more complicated as I am on a Foreign Computer and someone is Rearranging All The Files) and he is working late tonight. Where "working late" = "moving the servers to a new server room". I'd rather be watching paint dry. 

Anyway, I'll try to post those later, along with the accompanying angst re: decor. You = SO looking forward to it!

Jack's friend K visited our house this morning - my first time watching a kid I don't know. Which is a LITTLE weird, you must admit. Just something NEW at least. Of course he was a cutie patootie and not a problem in any way. It was MY kid I was anxious about. There was the usual amount of awkward floundering in the beginning, where you're not sure what to play with or what to do or where to go and your little sister is sort of in the way except she's ALWAYS there so you're more or less playing with HER instead of your friend who came to play with YOU... is anyone else stressed about Preschool Play Dynamics? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

The first thing they did was play outside - blowing bubbles, "watering" the plants with old nasty water from the wading pool I never emptied out. And that SEEMED to be going well, even though Jack was doing all the watering and K was doing all the bubble blowing and Molly was complaining that Jack was using HER watering can. I kept saying, "K came to play with YOU!" but maybe I should have just kept out of it. 

I tried! I went inside and obsessed over gray paint on Pinterest, but then Molly started bawling. I went out, hauled her inside and kept her mind off the two older boys via animal crackers and puzzles. I kept going out on the deck to check on the boys and I swear, it took FOREVER until it even APPEARED that they were playing together. But again! I kept out of it! Not my playdate! 

They came inside after a while, though, and that's when I started to pick up on the, shall we say, bossypantsness of my son. I wasn't necessarily SURPRISED. He is, after all, the child of me. He's also the oldest and used to pushing his sister around. And he's moderately bossy around other kids, except for the older, taller ones. (They boss HIM around.) But for some reason he kept telling, no, directing K. And if K wasn't super on board to play with whatever Jack was playing with, Jack just played by himself. Which is when I started up with my, "K came to play with YOU!" again. 

I may be making too much out of this. I mean, it IS Jack's house and maybe he was just showing K what he likes to do. And he's FOUR for goodness' sake. Four is probably not an optimal age for understanding social dynamics. K never seemed bothered by it, and Jack really didn't do it TOO much, and by the last hour or so all three of them were running around the house playing hide and seek and shrieking and generally having a blast. And you should have seen them singing all together while they ate lunch. I swear, soon I shall be captaining the Cheung Family Singers. 

But still. I don't know. It's FINE. It was playdate number TWO. I just... yeah. Maybe what irks me is that Jack busted out some behaviors that recalled stories my mother tells about preschool-aged ME. We all know I am the bossypantsest of us all, right? Sigh. 

I don't know about my gray paint, you guys. I nixed gray paint in the beginning, but the dining room area is MUCH smaller and JUST as light as the other rooms, and seems like it could handle [light] gray paint. And gray, I'm told, goes well with yellow. And I was seriously doubting painting EVERYTHING yellow... I think what surprises me is that the grays that look best are the "warm" grays, not the "cool" bluish ones I lean towards in the store. The bluish ones look purple, or kid room-ish while the warmer ones go better with the yellow (obvs). I know, I know, just post the pictures already. Later! 

P.S. You know what else I bought today? KILZ PRIMER. Kilz Primer is something I have only heard about on the internet. You use it to prime a piece of furniture (or something) you plan to spray paint. Which is also something I've only heard about on the internet. BUT BY GOD I'M GOING TO SPRAY PAINT SOMETHING IF IT KILLS ME. And oh yes, there will be pictures of that as well. 

Also, there was bacon for dinner and bacon makes everything better

So Jack has been Not Himself for over two weeks now (NOT THAT ANYONE IS COUNTING) and it's... getting to me. He wasn't obviously sick until the second week, and now it appears he is going to be sick for the rest of time. And because being sick means he isn't sleeping well, I've basically got 28 pounds of Whine living in my house. 

Some days he's so clearly unwell that I have an easier time tapping my sympathy reserves (which, admittedly, I have a hard time tapping in any situation.) Like yesterday, when we met a bunch of friends at a new playground. We got there first and Jack half heartedly wandered around the big toy, kicking the wood chips and pretending not to hear me call him back. When our friends arrived he was suddenly glued to my leg. He wanted me to hold him, which I would not do, but he is more stubborn than I am (I AM DOOMED) and eventually I gave in and oh, it was so pathetic. Little Jack's head on my shoulder, a tiny voice saying, "I want to go hooooome, Mama. I want to go hooooome!" OVER AND OVER AND OVER. 

So even though I hadn't seen some of these friends in months and months, I took the kids back to the car and drove them home. I cooked a made-to-order grilled cheese, which was subsequently not eaten. I kept a steady stream of Caillou playing on the TV. I held a cranky, misbehaving, snot-nosed little boy in my lap during naptime because there really wasn't anything else to do, and I wasn't angry. He'd cough and I'd feel the vibrations rattling his ribs. Poor little guy. 

But it's not always like that, especially when his nose ISN'T running and he's NOT coughing. I try to remind myself that he's still not feeling well, that he didn't get enough sleep, but DUDE, it's like he's competing for the gold in Pushing Buttons. (Look at that Timely Reference! Woo!) I have had so many awful and mortifying moments with him over the last two weeks (and honestly, Molly isn't a peach herself.) 

The worst was probably sometime early on when friends came over in the afternoon and then stuck around for dinner. We ordered a pizza, thinking the kids would like it, we wouldn't have to make dinner and our husbands could eat as soon as they walked in. But oh, Jack was a NIGHTMARE. He stole toys, was rude to our friends and nasty to his sister. And my FAVORITE thing about Jack is that when you intervene or take something away or even just say, "No!", he erupts into pitiful earsplitting wails AND DOES NOT STOP. I mean, you'd think he wiped out on the short track! (ANOTHER Timely Reference! Am on a ROLL!)

Anyway, it was just awful. I was so embarrassed. And these were friends who are more like family - it takes a LOT to be embarrassed in front of them and I wanted to DIIIIEEEE. 

Tonight I went to their house. Phillip is working late (he's still not home) and sometimes my friends invite us over for a Pity Dinner and hanging out until it's time to go to bed. I almost didn't go, just because Jack has been so Anti-Other-People (oh, who am I kidding, he's being Anti-ALL-People) and I didn't want to spend an evening constantly breaking up fights between him and his future prom date. (Who, right now, is more like the bossy know-it-all big sister. HILARIOUS.) 

But we went, because I am more lazy than anything else, and my friend was going to make dinner. And you guys, it was wonderful. It was restful. It was the best evening I've had with my kids in a a LONG time. They played so nicely and they played together. They were cute, they were happy, THEY ATE DINNER. When Jack's godfather busted out the guitar, all four kids had a little dance party in the living room: Molly doing her patented squat and lunge dance steps, Jack finding a toy guitar and standing right next to the real thing, mimicking all his moves. I sat there watching them, singing along and thinking oh God, in this random Thursday evening you have redeemed the last two weeks.

I'm sad Phillip wasn't there. His physical absence hasn't been as difficult as the distance in just knowing what's going on in each other's worlds - the result of the physical absence, I guess. I'm grateful he's not going on that trip, even though I know it was a bummer, and it turns out he doesn't have to go to school on Saturday either. It feels like a sorely needed break. 

He just called. He's on the bus. I better go clean up the kitchen. The lack of a proper house elf is really the only thing preventing me from calling this The Perfect Evening. 

Impossible request

My two close friends from college were here with their kids this morning. Three of us, six children. We looked at each other: strapped into Baby Bjorns, wiping spit up off the floor, mixing pureed peas into rice cereal, singing along to the children's CD in the Hello Kitty CD player because of course we all know the words. SIX KIDS. We could hardly believe it.

I policed a table full of Easter egg coloring supplies and grabby toddler hands while my friends looked after the babies. I fed the toddlers lunch while one friend nursed her 3-month-old and the other friend held her baby and mine. I gave Molly her bottle while one friend picked up toys and another friend read the toddlers a story. I filled up the toddlers' watering cans and let them go wild in the still-not-filled garden box while one friend packed up her car and the other friend changed her baby upstairs. People think I'm joking when I introduce my friend's daughter as "Jack's future prom date" but I'm totally not. I don't know, maybe she'll be into football players and Jack will be a hapless band nerd, but I have every intention of being around when this girl is sixteen and arguing with her mom over prom dresses.

And I have other mom friends- from church, from school, from friends of friends. They're all local. They're all people I can call up and say, "What do you think about going to the zoo this morning?" or "Please please please let me come over, the children are making me insane and there's still two hours before Phillip gets home."

And this is why I do not want to leave the city. Phillip and talk about The Next House all the time- sometimes obsessively, sometimes sporadically. Before this whole Dire Economy thing we felt hopeless about finding a house - a real house, with a yard and enough space so that a baby is not sleeping in our closet- we can afford in the city. Seattle isn't San Francisco or anything, but it's still got some pretty shocking and exorbitant house prices. And now that we're in the middle of this Dire Economy thing, we worry about whether we'll be able to sell the house we have NOW, so that we can afford half of a real house's garage in a neighborhood five minutes away.

We want to stay close to our parish and the friends we've had since we were living in the dorms. I want to be able to walk to a store or a park or a library or a lake. I don't want to move north, farther away from our families, and I'm afraid to move south, since that means moving away from my mom friend network, away from our church family, away from Phillip's work and the ability to get places without driving. Away from my place to be from.

We think about it, even though we have no intention of moving any time soon, especially if Phillip starts grad school in the fall. (Which is still a big IF which is why I haven't really mentioned it, much less thought about how it will impact my daily life and GAH THAT'S ANOTHER POST.) The soonest we've talked about moving is two and a half years from now and that's a ways away. No need to be bummed about it now.

Except that we often are. And when I told Phillip about the Novena of Impossible Requests a few weeks ago (because why not fail aNOTHER spiritual commitment!) Phillip suggested we pray for a house. In Seattle.

So we are. I should tell you that our other Impossible Requests are of a more holy variety, and to be honest I have no idea why I'm telling you that we are praying for a house (see above: FAIL). Except that I believe prayers are occasionally answered, even stupid not-holy ones, and maybe one day I can write on this website (because you KNOW I'll still have it) that we are moving ten minutes away, to a house with a yard and a third bedroom and a living room big enough for a Christmas party.


Hurry up and look before my friends freak out about having their preshhhussss on the big scary internet!


Cuteness, yes? This is what four babies look like when their parents, all eight of them, are dancing and whooping and laughing and clapping and turning cartwheels in hopes that 1) the four babies will stay on the couch, 2) the four babies will look at the eighty zillion cameras and 3) that they will smile. I think we'll shoot for smiles next year.

I'm going down to visit my mommy today. This is good because Jack is being a CRAP sleeper the last couple nights and I'm pretty sure that without help from the grandmothers I would be death walking. Also because I am supposed to start working and working right now means cranking out a website in one month. A website people will actually USE. I have never ever done this before and if I wasn't waking up to debate the finer points of sleeping through the night with my baby, I was waking up and saying to my poor stupid self, "WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOURSELF INTO?"

My mother is doing what now?

I'd externally process this new kind of neuroticness, but the boy is demanding breakfast. I tell everyone I love not having to go to an office and talk on the phone and go to meetings, but I've still got a boss and he's rather irrational about arriving on time...

Return of the chunk

I am winding down from a most excellent weekend with wonderful friends. Four couples, four babies, lots of talking and heaps of food make for a fabulous, if exhausting, time. Once I get my pictures uploaded I will treat you all to the four cutest hapa babies you've ever seen.

Of course, four babies means we are all exhausted on a level I've never quite experienced. And our kids were GOOD! Super nappers, happy with their toys, friendly with the grown ups, perfection in chubby packages. But still. Very tiring. Also,


kept looking at me like, "What is up with all this noise, woman? Aren't you supposed to be the one taking care of me? Could you please shut those other babies up?"

Anyway, it is the food I would like to talk about right now. (What I should be doing instead: stripping off the spit up and slobbered on shirt, climbing into bed, ordering my husband to give me a foot rub. The things I do for you!)

So, the food. Cinnamon rolls. Noodles with peanut sauce. Salmon and rice. This crazy yummy chickpea and black bean and rice and chicken thing. Fricking VEGAN DOUGHNUTS. Before the weekend started I was completely in love with myself for having dropped two pounds in the last week. Two! That is two whole pounds more than I'd lost in, oh, about a month.

This morning I saw that I gained one of those pounds back. And tomorrow morning I will probably note that I have gained back the other as well. And all I have to say about that is: DAMN YOU, FRIENDS WHO KEEP FEEDING ME DELICIOUS CARBOHYDRATES! 

(And the wine. I may have had a bit of wine.) 

Seriously people. I am feeling the Carbo Loader Blues tonight. I was doing so well! Salads for lunch, meat and vegetables for dinner and sucking down low carb fudgsicles when tempted to throw back an entire bag of chocolate chips. But this weekend I ate my weight in rice and bread and noodles, not to mention hefty side orders of sweets. (We went here Saturday night! How could I help myself?!)

Here is the sad truth, Internet. Sweet adorable Jackson required forty-five pounds to bring him into this world. (Well, that’s how I like to think of it. I’m positive he needed all that ice cream.) Two weeks after his birth I’d lost about twelve pounds (two weeks being how long it was before I was brave enough to check. Perhaps I should have waited longer. Twelve pounds? Six of those were Jack!) Three and a half months later I’ve lost 28 pounds total. I have 17 more to go before I’m back to what I was when I got pregnant. (It would be 15, but no, I had to eat doughnuts this weekend. VEGAN doughnuts.)

When I put it that way it doesn’t sound so terrible. But I lost most of those 28 pounds pretty early on and the last month or so has been slow going. Those summer clothes never made it out of their plastic storage box. And the last 17 are the difference between the fat jeans I’ve been wearing all summer and the two sizes smaller stuff in the back of my closet.

I know I know. It’s called: Don’t Eat The Ice Cream, Moron. But what’s a personal website for if you can’t occasionally slop around in a bucket of self pity?


Oh, and all you people who are all, "Breastfeeding! It is a weight loss miracle!" You people are liars. Ly. Ers.


I’m hoping to get a post up sometime soon about Three Months: A Whole New Baby and Do Everyone’s Husbands Play Dorky Board Games Requiring Miniature Plastic Fantasy Creatures You Can't Bear To Admit Actually Belong To Him Or Just Mine? But seriously, I was not kidding when I said my shirt was soaked with slobber. I'm starting to reek.